Tuesday, January 19, 2021

All in a Day’s Work

I’ve always been pretty “big” on routine. That’s not to be taken as “boring” or “in a rut.” I suppose I was raised to think there is value in having certain routines, even in retirement. 

For example, we make our bed every morning. I say “we” because I haven’t made our bed myself in a few years. That’s something my husband does to help me, so that I don’t get a backache. But it is part of our morning routine (as is coffee and watching the birds at the feeders).


My daily routine varies from time to time (see, not so boring) but almost always includes Quiet Time, devotional and Bible reading, prayer time, walking, coffee times, cooking and communicating with friends and family (usually via social media and texting).

My daily step goal is 10,000 steps, and when the weather is not conducive, that means lots of walking around in the house. Ugh! Tough to get that many steps. I don’t always make it all the way to 10,000, sometimes 7,500. But usually 10,000.



So I pass some of that time by listening to the Bible (currently reading through the Bible chronologically through one of the plans in the Bible app), through AirPods, as well as listening to daily devotionals from the First 15 app.

Another routine while walking is to pray over my Prayer Circles in my Prayer Journal.




From my son and wife I learned about “The Chosen” series as well as the little devotional book, “The Chosen: 40 Days with Jesus.” I am going through that during my Quiet Time now. I got a little journal to keep notes and prayers from the devotional study.



Since we are not going much of anywhere these days (Covid restrictions here in WA state are a bit extreme), and coffee is sort of a hobby for us, we recently got a new coffee maker and are now using a system other than a Keurig for some of our daily coffee times.


For espresso, we use the Nespresso machine with Nespresso capsules. For the Keurig, we use Kcups. But in order to use the new TechniVorm MoccaMaster Coffee brewer with the fresh roasted Colombian beans from Fresh Roasted Coffee, we needed a burr grinder. The OXO was highly recommended.



Most days we have three meals: usually granola or yogurt for breakfast, larger meal (sometimes Home Chef) for the middle of the day meal, and something light for supper. (My “big meal” is usually on Sunday when all the Washington family comes to our house for Sunday Dinner after church. Love that.)

Most days I do some art or some scrapbooking. 

I just completed the 2020 Scrapbook Album. 


I have also been placing some of my artwork in frames and using for a bit of decor “around the house.”











Today I finished another watercolor black-capped chickadee. I am finding that “creatures” are my most enjoyable watercolor subjects.


So, perhaps the only value in writing this post is so that I can answer my own question, “What in the world did you do with yourself today?” 

#dailyroutines #watercolor #scrapbooking #coffee #technivormmoccamaster #oxoburrgrinder #nespresso #keurig #freshroastedcoffee #thechosen #chickadee #prayercircles #prayerjournal #quiettime #fitbitversa2 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

A Goal for the New Year {Aging GRACEFULLy}


My little watercolor kitty makes me smile. She is so sweet.

As I think about the new year, I want to focus on things that make me smile. Of course I have a lot of goals... goals about my projects, reading the Bible through, being what God wants me to be, serving, loving, being kinder and sweeter, having more grace, being a better wife, a better Mom, a better Mamo...on and on goes my list that I pray over each day...

But sometimes I come across something that someone else has written, that makes me think: 
“That. Right there. That’s it. That’s how I want to be.”

The following is copied.

I love it.

The beautiful, well-versed 83 year old lady, fully dressed every morning at 8 am sharp, with her hair done in fashion and perfectly applied makeup, is moving to a retirement home.  Her husband recently died, which motivated her move.

After many hours of patiently waiting in the hall of the home, she smiled sweetly, when told her room was ready.

As she moved her walker toward the elevator, she was given a detailed description of her small room, including the curtains hanging from her window.

′′ I love it,” she said, with the enthusiasm of an 8-year-old girl who was just handed a new pet.
“Mrs. Jones, you haven't seen the room, just wait.”
“That doesn't matter,” she replied.
“Happiness is something you decide over time. Whether or not I like my room doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged, it depends on how I arrange my mind.

“I’ve already decided that I like it. It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have the choice; I can spend the day in bed, going through the difficulty I have with my body parts that don't work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the parts that do work.

“Every day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I will focus on the new day and the happy memories I've stored just for this time in my life.”

HAPPINESS is like a bank account: you withdraw from it, what you deposit.

So my advice would be to deposit a lot of happiness into your memory account.

Remember these five simple things:

1.- Free your heart from hate/discord.
2.- Free your mind from worries.
3.- Live Simply.
4.- Give more.
5.- Take less.
❤️

#watercolor #watercolorkitten #aginggracefully #finishwell #itisadecision #itisachoice

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

A Little Girl and a Little Boy {Old Timey-Times}

A few years ago, when I was knee-deep in mixed media projects, I made several little “board books.” I did not save most of those, but there is one that is very special to me. I happened to see that little book today and decided that a “look back” might be fun. In retrospect, I can’t believe how much time and effort I put into this book, but I’m so glad I did, because it is now very special to me. I photographed the “pages” today and will share it here.

Talk about a “look back” into the “old timey-times!”

Note: This book is about my hubby and me, our first three grades of elementary school (we neither one went to kindergarten). But, we did not meet each other until my husband was starting 9th grade, and I was starting 7th grade. So, after the fact, after we were married even, I got some of his old pictures from his mom.

Another side note: Just for fun, at one point, I had a company make my own print handwriting into a digital font file. So, the printing on the little tags inside the pockets of the book are actually my own printing, though typed.

*In order to read all the little true stories that are on some of the tags, you may want to click to enlarge the photo.





















#oldtimeytimes #boardbooks #mixedmedia #primaryschool 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Christmas and Winter Theme {Watercolor}

Sometimes I enjoy the tough challenge of painting a bird or an animal. Those are difficult for me, but I am usually okay with the finished product, more pleased with some than others. 

This is only my second winter/Christmas season with my new watercolor hobby, and I must admit I love the FUN of painting things like snowmen and Christmas ornaments. So much easier than creatures!!



All of these paintings were inspired by Maria Raczynska.







While I truly do celebrate Christmas because it is about the birth of Christ, His coming to earth as a baby, to live as a man (fully man/fully God), and to die on a cross as the payment for my sins, I do also enjoy the light-hearted and fun things of the season, like snowmen and Christmas balls!

#watercolorsnowman #watercolor #Christmasballs #ornaments #watercolor #newhobby #MerryChristmas #BirthofJesus



Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Thoughts That Bring Life and Peace {Watercolor} {Heartstrings}


A few days ago I wrote a blog piece about God’s creatures and why I love them so much, maybe more than ever right now. (That post is here.)

My sentimental leaning toward little creatures (especially soft and cuddly ones) probably inspired me to attempt this little watercolor kitten, following a tutorial by my favorite art teacher, Maria Raczynska. My little kitty is just that—mine—as it doesn’t look that much like Maria’s little kitty. But that’s okay. It’s mine. My painting, that is. I do not own, nor have I ever owned a kitten/cat. But they are cute and cuddly-looking.

I’ve been thinking more about why I am so drawn to little creatures right now (apart from my obvious over-endowment of maternal instinct). And it comes to me today that perhaps one reason (among hundreds) why I miss my little Sassi Girl so much is because she was a constant. She never waivered in her unconditional love for me. She wanted nothing more in this world than to be with me, to be loved by me, no matter what. And she loved me, no matter what. She wasn’t interested in current events. The pandemic, the election, the riots, the upside-down state of our country right now—none of that was a part of her world. Her world was her family. Her people. And that was calming to me. When she was on my lap, none of the bad stuff of the world seemed to matter. Her world/my world = simply, mutual love.



So many things in my world today (and not just me, this has to be true for most of us right now) are not just upsetting, but worse than that, traumatic. Trauma is not good. The depression, bitterness, anger, fear, and all of those bad feelings that tend to accompany thoughts about what is going on around us—those things cannot long live in my heart without taking a physical, mental and emotional toll. 

I miss being able to hold Sassi on my lap while I pray and refocus.

This morning’s Facebook post from our son was exactly what I needed to hear (not the part about how he was awake in the middle of the night, but the rest of it). I share it here in hopes that it will help someone else.
 
Post from Mark Ford, Facebook, December 1, 2020:

“What’s on your mind?” That’s what Facebook asks. I’m not sure I could begin to tell you. It’s 2:30 a.m. and there’s way too much on my mind. Things that were not on anyone’s mind last year at this time. Things I never worried about before. Tons of things. And by that I mean heavy things. On top of all the usual things that were there before 2020. Personal things. Family things. Church things. America things. Global things. Temporal things. Eternal things. Past things. Present things.  Future things. Decisions. Challenges. Disappointments. Worries. Fears. Hopes. Dreams. Hurts. Frustrations. Confusion. Discouragements. Plans. Prayers. 

“What is on your mind?” What a terrible question. Terrible. 

And literally in this moment, as I am typing, I remember one of my memory verses: Romans 8:6. It says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.”

I’ve been talking to myself when I needed to talk to Jesus. 

End transmission.

Yep, that’s my little boy, the one who has always, since he was a toddler, had such a tender heart and such a busy mind, always feeling for people and always wishing he could make everything okay. Not just wishing. Thinking. Planning. Solving. 

My little boy is now my pastor, and I’m thankful that he is, and that he has been my spiritual mentor for many years now.

I need to refocus. I am very upset by what is going on around me. But the true eternal constant in my life is Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I pray that I will stop talking to myself and talk more to Jesus. 

Because setting my mind on The Spirit will bring life and peace. 

Peace. I need that.

#watercolor #SassiGirl #watercolorkitten #Romans86 #thinkontheSpirit #helpforthesetimes #lifeandpeace #peace

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Cheerful Little Yellow Warbler {Watercolor}


On this very dreary November day in Missouri, this cheeky little yellow warbler cheers my spirits. 

I am a Patreon of Maria Raczynska (that means I pay a small monthly fee to have access to all her detailed tutorials—costs less per month than a couple of Grande Lattes from Starbucks, so yeah, I allow myself...)... Her style of painting is something that draws me—I don’t love all of her tutorials (I do not particularly like landscapes, for example, and she does a lot of those).... but I have decided that my “rule of thumb” for whom I will  emulate is this: if their finished work is something I wish I could do, then, bingo. Surprisingly, there aren’t that many artists who fit that rule, in terms of most of their work.

Repeating from my last post, I love creatures. This little yellow bird appeared in a recent tutorial from Maria, but she didn’t identify it, so I searched for it, and it’s a Yellow Warbler. Apparently they are found in Missouri as well as many other states, but I have never seen one in person. I love the bright yellow color, and although we have tons of Goldfinch in Missouri, there is a lot of the year (like now) that the Goldfinch have almost no color.

As far as the art, this one is done on Fabriano Artistico Extra White 100% Cotton, 140 pound paper (I usually use Arches). It is on a 5x7 block, which I love to use, as it doesn’t warp as I apply water.

Paints - Almost all Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor:
Winsor Lemon
Cadmium Yellow Light
Iso Yellow Deep
Sap Green
Quin Red
Sepia
Neutral Tint

This is Thanksgiving week. We will be spending Thanksgiving alone, by choice this year, as we have decided not to venture out to accept a larger family invitation. 

We are getting ready for Christmas, and being able to do that is actually one of the things I am most thankful for!!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

#yellowwarbler #WinsorandNewtonWatercolor #Fabriano #watercolor #watercolorbirds #MissouriNovember

Saturday, November 21, 2020

God’s Creatures: Sentimental Thoughts {Watercolor}


Always a lover of animals, here lately I have been smitten...my heart just opens up and wraps itself around any creature that I see. I know the reason for the uptick in emotions, of course. 

We said good-bye to our little Sassi Girl October 9, after having her with us (pretty much constantly) for 17 1/2 years. I’m still dealing with the heartbreak, to be honest. I miss her so much.

We left our Washington home for a few weeks, returning to our Missouri home, right away after the loss of Sassi. One of the things I have noticed since we got back to Missouri (having been in our Washington home for several months), with no Sassi in this house where we have lived for 14 1/2 years, always WITH Sassi until now, is that my heart is just so soft for little animals. 



The first thing I asked upon our return was for hubby to put the bird feeders back up so I could watch the birds. Then there’s the little gray squirrels, I just love them. We watch 10-15 or so little squirrels scurrying all over our 5 acres every morning. (Our bedroom sitting area is in a bay window several feet above the woods, so we literally have a birds-eye view of the woods.) 

Then the other heart-tug right now is that it is deer season in Missouri. Our neighbors have a deer stand on their property right next to our woods, and I have seen their orange hats some of each day this week. They have assured us they will only shoot bucks, because they enjoy watching the does also. We often have 3-5 (or more) deer come through our property regularly, and I love them. But I cannot bear the thought of any deer being shot in the woods right next to ours. 

Now, I’m not against hunting. My husband and son and many in my family are hunters. I’ve never had a problem with that. Until this year. I just want to run out into the woods and “call” all the deer over to our acres (Peaceful Acres) where they will be safe.

See what I mean?

And I have a Facebook friend who just found a stray cat, has cared for it for a month and has fallen in love with it. Now she feels she must try to see if it has an owner who is looking for it, so she posts about it on FB, before she makes the final decision to keep it. I can’t stand it. I want her to be able to keep the cat. I can’t wait to see her post that says there were no takers and she can keep it.

Yes. Unusual sentiments and emotions about creatures right now. 

So, for my watercolor art subjects, I find myself choosing creatures (sheep, fox, birds). I always do enjoy painting animals anyway (though it’s hard—fur and feathers? I’m not great at it...), but right now? 

Heart: tender. Tears: just below the surface. (Well, maybe not always BELOW...)

There is no doubt that God created animals for many purposes. There is no doubt that God gave us Sassi to enrich our lives for a time (and the memories for all time thereafter). 

My love for animals is part of who I am. And God created me to be who I am. I thank Him for His creation.

#creatures #fox #doggie #SassiGirl #squirrels #watercolor #watercolorfox #PeacefulAcres


Thursday, November 19, 2020

“Sheep in Snow” (and in My Heart) {Watercolor}


Those who know me well know that I love the seasons. I love change, and seasonal changes fit right into my “who I am” bucket. Here in Missouri, where we are at the moment, the leaves are all gone from the trees (those that remained “blew” today, with a strong wind). So, after painting some pumpkins and leaves and other “fall” stuff, I’m ready to move on into the winter season.

This watercolor piece is a winter scene, and the subject is sheep. I have always loved sheep (especially lambs). I just love them. I’m a sucker for any cute and cuddly creature, but there’s just something about lambs and sheep—whether they are the subject of a song, or maybe in a children’s book where they inevitably pop up so the child can say, “Baaaaaaaaa.”

But today as I was posting this picture of this watercolor, what came to mind is that there are so many references to lambs, sheep, shepherd, etc., in the Bible. I love the many names for God in the Bible—“Lion of Judah,” “Lamb of God who takes the away the sins of the world,” for example.

Here are some of my favorites today.

Psalm 79:13
Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will thank you forever and ever,
 praising your greatness from generation to generation.

Psalm 100:3
Acknowledge that the LORD is God
He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

John 10:3-4 
The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and
the sheep recognize his voice and come to him.
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 
After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him 
because they know his voice.

John 10:10-11 
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. “
I am the good shepherd. 
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

#WordofGod #sheep #wintertheme #watercolor #LambofGod #WeAreThe Sheep #HeisTheShepherd #sheepinsnow #baaaaa

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Already? Fall AGAIN? (Or...Time Continues to Fly)

My purpose for today’s post is two-fold: (1) To get “back in the saddle” with posting on my blog. It gets harder to discipline myself, the longer I am away, and I have reconfirmed with myself that I do want to keep the blog alive. (2) To share some fall art, to make myself accountable, because I do want to paint, and I want to work to completion on a piece; sharing the completed work does hold me accountable (to me, of course—no one else cares!! Ha).

I painted the pumpkin a couple of months ago and did not pick up the brushes again until a couple of days ago, when I painted the autumn leaf.

The pumpkin was painted closely following a tutorial by Anna Mason online. It was way too detailed for my enjoyment, but I do like the finished product.


The leaf was painted loosely following a reference photo by Anna Mason.


That done (painted/posted), I have decided to return to following my favorite artist so far, Maria Raczynska, and I will soon post something I have done with inspiration from her (incredible) work. I have followed her before and always enjoy her teaching.

So, without commentary on what is going on in my country right now, I will just say, “Happy Fall, Everyone!” And be done with the posting for today!

#watercolor #annamason #pumpkin #autumnleaf

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake {From My Kitchen}

For some reason, I just feel like sharing a recipe today. This is one of my favorites (and my family loves it). It was shared with me by a friend who is now in heaven.

It’s never fail, and though it is called a breakfast cake, I always serve it as a snack cake.



Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Ingredients
½ cup butter-softened 
¾ cup sugar 
1 egg, room temperature 
1 tsp. vanilla 
2 cups flour 
2 tsp. baking powder 
1 tsp salt 
2 cups fresh blueberries 
½ cup buttermilk 
1 Tbsp. sugar, for sprinkling on top

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 

2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. 

3. Toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour. 

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt. 

5. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. 
Fold in the blueberries. 

6. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan.
Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. 

Bake for 35-45 minutes.
Check with a toothpick for doneness. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Delicious when warm, but also great the next day!

#buttermilkblueberrybreakfastcake #recipes #frommykitchen 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Summer Watercolor

I continue to be challenged with my watercolor hobby. Seems like about the time I feel like I have made progress, the next painting feels like I’ve taken several steps backward. 

I suppose as long as I can feel like I’m farther along now than I was when I started, I should consider that I’m overall on a positive trajectory. 

Of the following pieces completed recently, I really like the full-body flamingo and the giraffe. The other pieces are just included here in the interest of being accountable and realistic, as I remind myself that I’m still at the point of “While none of the pieces are super great, still, some are better than others.”


















#watercolor #watercolorfox #watercolorflamingo #watercolorgiraffe #watercolorswallow #watercolordaisies #watercolorpractice

Monday, August 3, 2020

Recounting of My Professor’s Personal Meeting with Einstein

He always entered the classroom with dignity, walked to the front of the class and bowed his gray head in a moment of prayer, and with his verbal “Amen,” class would begin. 

I (always) sat near the front. During the silent prayer, there would be snickers from the back of the room, coming from inexperienced young people who had no clue about the wealth of experience, knowledge and wisdom to be gained simply by listening to this elderly gentleman, a sort of emeritus professor at SWBC. His name was Dr. David A. Weaver.


It was 1968, and my husband was in Vietnam. While my husband was deployed for 13 months, it was my “job” to finish my college education at the institution where I had begun, as a newly-wed in 1965. Having spent a year away from school, with my husband in USMC training, I was back on campus at Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, Missouri, with two regular semesters and a summer to go, to complete my teaching degree. After that, we would finish his 3-year commitment with the Marines, on a USMC base according to his orders (Camp Lejeune, North Carolina) upon his return from the war.  

Typically an avid note-taker, in my memory from so many years ago, I often did not take notes in Dr. Weaver’s class. I simply listened with respect, aware that I was under the tutelage of a great educator, and realizing that his wealth of experience could benefit me.

One day he told of his personal experience in meeting Albert Einstein. I was mesmerized by the story. I remember thinking, “Really? I know someone who actually personally met Albert Einstein!” 

I do not remember how Dr. Weaver received a personal invitation to meet Dr. Einstein. As I recall, it was through a mutual acquaintance. Dr. Einstein asked to meet Dr. Weaver. 

As the story was recounted to my class, Dr. Weaver told of being very nervous, naturally. He tried to think of what he might say. Should he ask questions about physics? Dr. Weaver was an educator, not a scientist.



When Dr. Weaver arrived at the residence of Dr. Einstein, the scientist was comfortably dressed in a cardigan sweater with leather patches on the elbows. Immediately after greeting Dr. Weaver, Dr. Einstein said, “Walk with me.” 

Dr. Weaver recounted that as they walked outside (as I recall the story, along a landscaped hedge), Dr. Einstein said, “Now, tell me about your field, education. Tell me all about the field of education.”

Dr. Weaver shared with our class that, feeling totally at ease at that point, he enjoyed a comfortable conversation with Dr. Einstein, who was genuinely interested in a field that was “foreign” to him. He wanted to learn. 

I remember thinking that I had been given an insight into the person of Albert Einstein. I know something about him, from a personal encounter with someone I knew personally, that is not on Wikipedia. It was a personal encounter, and I was only “once removed” from that encounter. 

Subsequently I learned that in years prior to coming to the faculty of SWBC, Dr. Weaver had been Dean of the Baylor University College of Arts and Sciences. 

He was actually my Supervising Teacher as I did my student teaching that fall semester of 1968. As one of his student teachers, I was invited to his home, where he and his wife were such sweet and classy hosts.

As a student and lifelong learner, I have been blessed to have learned from many great educators.

#SWBC #SBU #AlbertEinstein #DavidAWeaver #educator #lifeexperiences